Building Common Ground Print E-mail

Downtown LithoniaFrom October 13 through November 13, the Library will present a series of programs called Building Common Ground: Discussions of Community, Civility and Compassion at the Stonecrest Library celebrating the history, diversity and preservation of the Flat Rock-Arabia Mountain Community. The program series will include:

  • Reflections of Our Community: Past and Present – Saturday, October 13, 1:00 p.m.
    A photography exhibit presented by the students of the Arabia Mountain High School Photography Club and a collection of historical photographs from the Flat Rock Museum and Archives
  • Memories of the Arabia Mountain Community – Saturday, October 20, 3:00 p.m.
    Presentation about the history of the Flat Rock Community and first-hand memories of local community members
  • Arabia Mountain Heritage  Area Alliance and Our Community– Saturday, November 3, 11:00 a.m.
    Presentation and discussion about the history of the area from the geological forming of the mountain over 7000 years ago to human settlement in the area
  • Book Discussion: The Grace of Silence by Michele Norris – Tuesday, November 13, 6:00 p.m.
    Discussion conducted by genealogy expert Emma Davis about how the book's story mirrors experiences of the historic African American Flat Rock Community
The Library is funding this program through a $2,500 grant from the American Library Association and the Fetzer Institute. It is one of only 30 library systems in the country, and the only one in Georgia, to win the grant.

Oral Histories

The following are excerpts from interviews done by StoryCorps with people who have lived in or near the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area/Flat Rock Community. The complete StoryCorps interviews are preserved at the American Folklife Center at the U.S. Library of Congress.

StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit project with the mission to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives. It is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions listen to its broadcasts on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and on its Listen pages. For more information on StoryCorps recordings in Atlanta, visit the Atlanta StoryCorps page.

Patricia Bryant Hughes, Jonathan Waits

Jonathan Waits talks to his cousin Patricia Bryant Hughes about how he started the Flat Rock Museum and how his family acquired the land where it sits.

Download MP3 (6.48 MB)

Jonathan Waits talks to his cousin Patricia Bryant Hughes about the slave cemetery and the people who were uncomfortable calling it that.

Download MP3 (3.27 MB)

Jonathan Waits talks to his cousin Patricia Bryant Hughes about the unpaved roads in the Flat Rock Community, the way the city grew, and the oldest churches in DeKalb County.

Download MP3 (3.11 MB)

Theodore Bryant Jr.

Theodore Bryant Jr. talks to his daughter Patricia Bryant Hughes about their family history in the Flat Rock Community, working on a farm, the difficulties of going to school as a black child, and the importance of education.

Download MP3 (5.42 MB)

Barbara Lester

Barbara Lester talks to Teresa Totten about her mother, the first African American elected to the Lithonia City Council.

Download MP3 (3.37 MB)

Barbara Lester talks to Teresa Totten the history of racial segregation in the community.

Download MP3 (3.18 MB)

Above, left to right: Thajura Harmon-Unongo, Library Outreach Coordinator Myguail Chapel, Florence Minton, and Stonecrest Library Branch Manager Teresa Totten

Florence Minton talks to Thajura Harmon-Unongo about why she decided to move to DeKalb County, what the community was like back then, the schools her children attended, and why her sense of community is so strong.

Download MP3 (5.64 MB)

Florence Minton talks to Thajura Harmon-Unongo about her passion for the local church, for learning, for independence, and for the library.

Download MP3 (2.9 MB)


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